The end of the 34 round Bundesliga season also means that the promotion/relegation playoff between the third-placed side from the second division and the third-from-bottom finisher of the top flight quickly takes center-stage.
The controversial two-legged playoff determines the last remaining unknown Bundesliga team for the following season. Its critics point to the fact that since these games were reintroduced in 2009, the team from the second division has only prevailed twice.
They assert that the team from the top division is being let off the hook for playing a terrible season, as long as there are two sides to be found who had even worse results. The consequences of this are that there are usually only two promoted teams each season and thus there is less possibility for upward mobility in the German league pyramid.
All of these criticisms and concerns are of course entirely valid, but even as regularly as the higher division side has prevailed in these games, in most years the matches have been highly competitive, dramatic and intense.
After the first leg of this season’s pro./rel. playoff from Thursday night, it seems that we are in for much excitement again.
Bundesliga outfit VfB Stuttgart is fighting to remain in the league against popular division two team Union Berlin. The side from the capital came back from 1-0 and 2-1 down respectively to draw2-2 in Stuttgart. This means that Union only needs a 0-0 or 1-1 draw at home, to move up based on the away-goals rule.
They are said to be the most popular Berlin-based club, despite never having been in the top flight of a unified Germany.
Stuttgart must find its form in Monday evening’s second leg, or else they stare in the face of catastrophic relegation, albeit well deserved ,given that they only earned an equally catastrophic grand total of 28 points this league season.